Chateau racer shakes off cancer

Published 4:52 pm Sunday, August 1, 2010

Don’t call Randy Rauen a rookie.

He may be in his first year racing in the Pure Stocks Division at Chateau Raceway in Lansing, but he has plenty of racing experience and he has even more life experience.

In the past few years, Rauen has won his first Pure Stocks Feature, he’s seen his two year-old daughter watch him race, and he was diagnosed with cancer.

Randy Rauen heads into turn one during the Pure Stock heats at Chateau Raceway on July 31.

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Two years ago Rauen, a 27-year old who graduated from Austin High School and still lives in town, was starting to take on the new joys of fatherhood after his daughter was born when he found out that he had testicular cancer.

The moment was a shock for him.

“That was bad,” he said. “It changes your life and just hearing those words was scary enough. Going through the first year was the hardest.”

Since Rauen didn’t have insurance at the time, his friends held him a benefit at the bowling alley and the cancer eventually subsided, although he still does have routine checkups with the doctor.

Rauen now has a little different approach to getting on the race track, where a wrong move could have lasting consequences.

“Anything can change your life in a heartbeat and we saw that with Jacob Dahle’s roll-over a couple of weeks ago,” Rauen said. “But it’s nice to be able to just go out and do stuff. It gives you free will and you never know what can happen at any given time.”

Rauen enjoys having his daughter watch him race and he still gets a big rush before taking to the track.

“My feet are shaking in the car before I go,” he said. “Then once you get going, it’s like nothing’s going on and you’re back in to your comfort zone. Once you get onto the track, it’s way easier.”

Rauen, who started racing when the Hornets Division started a few years ago at Chateau, didn’t have too much trouble finding success early on. He was a points champion and he had a few feature wins in the Hornets Division.

Randy Rauen waits for his Pure Stock heat during the races at Chateau Raceway Friday, July 25 in Lansing

Still, it was a big deal for him to win his first feature race in the pure stocks this summer.

“It’s huge. You’re in a bigger car with eight cylinders and rear wheel drive,” he said. “It’s pretty neat to get a win, because you put a little more money into it and the competition is way harder. It was a big accomplishment for me.”

Now Rauen, who is in ninth place in the Pure Stocks points standings hopes to finish in the top-10 as he works on learning more things the rest of the summer.

“Everything’s still new so I’m getting my feet wet and I’m always learning,” he said. “Every night is a learning experience, and you step on people’s toes. I’ve done that a few times and I’ve spun out by getting on the gas to quick. I’ve learned things and hopefully next year I can run for a title.”

Rauen works on maintenance for his car almost every day and he hopes to keep racing as long as he can afford it.

Chateau Raceway will hold its fan appreciation night this Friday and ticket prices will be $2 off.

The show will also feature Trick-Or-Treat Night for the kids. All seven classes of cars will be in action as the track point battles heat up. Hot laps will get underway at 7 p.m. with racing to follow.